Recipe - Baked Lemon Basil Tilapia with Capers

Growing up, I used to be a huge fan of fish. I would eat it quite often my mom said, and I remember even vying for the fish's eye whenever we had a whole beast. Somewhere along the lines, something changed though and I no longer was a fan of the aquatic meat source. The smell started to disgust me. The food got pushed away. I've slowly come back to fish but mainly when it is prepared in a different manner than what I see at home. On the other hand, I love raw fish for some reason - sushi is a treat! So because I've been averse to it, I rarely ever cook it but there comes a time when you just have to. We had a lot of basil from the herb garden on hand so I decided to make this recipe of lemon basil tilapia with capers (we got the massive jar of non-pareil capers from Costco). Hope you enjoy it too!

Step 1: Ingredients (yields two servings)

  • 4 small tilapia filets, about 2 oz each
  • olive oil
  • 2 tsps garlic salt, divided
  • 2 tsps ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • 1/2 large lemon, zest and juice
  • 2 tbsps non-pareil capers
  • 10-12 large sweet basil leaves
  • 1/2 small lime, juice only
Step 2: Prepping the ingredients
I actually baked these in a toaster oven since we were making cookies in the larger oven. It still worked out just fine! Brush a foil wrapped baking sheet with olive oil. Add 1 tsp garlic salt and 1 tsp ground black pepper. Slice garlic clove and lay on sheet. Place large strips of lemon zest on sheet as well.

Step 3: Prepping the fish
Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Lay fish down onto sheet, covering all of the zest and garlic. Brush filets with olive oil and sprinkle on remaining garlic salt and pepper. Top with capers - residual juices are fine. Squeeze over lemon juice. Layer large basil leaves on top. Squeeze over lime juice.

Step 4: Finishing
Cover whole sheet with foil and slit holes to vent out hot air. This should create an environment of heat inside. Bake for 30-40 minutes depending on thickness of filet. Remove and let sit for a minute or two under foil tent before unwrapping to serve. Enjoy!

Photography by Duc Duong.